[openbeos] Re: Visual design stuff again

  • From: "Simon Taylor" <simontaylor1@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 11:26:43 +0100 BST

> "Simon Taylor" <simontaylor1@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > I have also seen, through looking at the CVS changes, *complete* 
> > rewrites of certain parts of code, to have a better implementation. 
> Sure, we're not perfect either, as hard as we may try ;-)
> > This proposal wouldn't even be as major as that, but would just be 
> > an 
> > addition to the existing code. There are also exapmles of where 
> > this 
> > has happened in OBOS (an R5 compatibile implemetation done, then 
> > extra 
> > features added). For those who are going to ask for an example, 
> > multi
> > -
> > page support of the TIFF translator is one that I can remember.
> Yes, and that's why OpenBeOS R1 won't 100% R5 - but it'll stay pretty 
> close to it, it only augments certain areas where we couldn't resist 
> (shame on us developers who are doing all this for the fun of it :).

There are certain areas where little tidbits have been added (TIFF 
But there are also more major changes (Networking being the main one)

> We're not saying that R1==R5 to prevent those things from happening, 
> but R1==R5 is what we're aiming at. That reduces discussions like 
> these 
> to a minimum and makes the whole development process straight-
> forward.

Yes, OK.

However, you really are heading for something far beyond R5. Because 
you have a whole raft of great new features planned for future 
releases, there is a tendancy to assume that the improvements to R1 are 
just minor - but they are not at all.

Let's take a look at Zeta - yT believes that they not only have enough 
features to warrant a new release, but that a new release is 
commercially viable too. So what do they actually offer? Better 
hardware support - we should have that too (good modern open source 
drivers, and it should boot straight off on all PCs - plus there won't 
be the 1Gig memory limitation that will still be in Zeta R1). 
Networking in the kernel (R1 will have that). A less buggy media kit (I 
sure Marcus will deliver this). Lots of bug fixes (you have already 
fixed lots of these through unit testing). A new look (R1 *should* have 
that :-P).

The only things that Zeta will have better than R1 are the new tracker 
(hence my post to the OT list), localisation (which will certainly take 
some time before it is widespread enough to be really noticed by 
users), and some third party apps.

What OBOS R1 will have over and above Zeta: newer kernel, 1 Gig bug 
fixed, mmap(), Select(), better POSIX support, nicer font rendering, 
etc, and of course the big one - it will be *open source and completely 

R1 may not be the place to try to make all windows users switch, but it 
is the perfect time to start building up a bit of hype around all 
things BeOS again. R1 has the ability to be a really great OS in it's 
own right - I see no reason why you shouldn't trumpet it a bit, send a 
CD off to some magazines for reviews, treat it as the first milestone 
release of the project, encourage people to use it. That's what yT are 
doing with (IMHO) a much less attractive product overal.

What could be potentially dangerous is assuming that no-one cares about 
R1 - that as long as it is released, that is all that matters and you 
can get on with designing an OS you actually want people to use. 2.7 
million web hits shows how crucial the release of R1 is - don't 
undersell what it is. If somebody says what's this OBOS thingy, don't 
reply with "Oh, it's just like R5 - wait a couple of years and the next 
release will be really great".  If you would tell them it is compatible 
with R5, but with lots of improvements, then tell them that with the 
screenshots too! There is no call for modesty - bask in the glory of 
what you have acheived with R1!
> > I'll show you the code when I've written it.
> Please, there are lots of other opportunities in our kits :-)
> Of course, we won't stop you. But neither can we promise to include 
> your work in which case you would have wasted a lot of time.
> And still, don't forget the new font renderer - it will give R5 a 
> whole 
> new look for free.

I don't know how much different the font renderer will really make.

If I was to switch now, I really would have wasted a hell of a lot of 
time. Probably a couple of hours each day for the past month just 
arguing about the issue. If I at least write a line of code for myself, 
it will seem like something (however small) has come out of the whole 

> > There is a learning curve - but the release of R1 of OBOS is many 
> > times 
> > more important (to the project's future) than the first release of 
> > BeOS 
> > was. OBOS is the flagship project for the recreation of BeOS - that 
> > is 
> > largely through your choice - the very professional website, the 
> > regular status updates, the newsletters, the open code repositry, 
> > the 
> > mentions in the press or on internet radio. Without OBOS, I'm sure 
> > the 
> > BeOS community today would be much smaller. However, that means the 
> > release of R1 is a VERY important milestone.
> Yes, and we've stated several times that R5 is our target - so that's 
> what people are expecting from us anyway :-)

But that's not what they are going to get - they are going to get more. 
Why not tell them that? How many people have lost interest because 
"it's not out yet, and even then the first release is going to be *
identical* to R5, I can't be bothered to wait another 10 years until 
there's a release that actually works on my hardware".


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